Speaking of last week’s blog, “Walking with the Lord”, I want to talk about keeping Jesus as a constant presence in your life, and what it does for us. Most of us are fairly familiar with Romans 12:2- “Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
I don’t know about you, but it causes me to ask another question: “How do I get transformed?”
The beauty of God is that He never leaves us to guess about such things, but He does want us to look and search… Proverbs 25:2 says, after all, that it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search it out. In my searching of the Bible to find helpful instructions about my transformation, I found 2 Corinthians 3:18- “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
We are all being transformed, and it is determined by what we behold. How, you may ask? To answer that, let’s look at the meaning of “behold.” Does it mean to look? No. Behold means to “fix your gaze on something and take in (absorb) what you see.” The key to our transformation is our ability to fix our gaze on something. If you fix your gaze on something of the world, you will be transformed into a worldlier person, and likewise if you fix your gaze on Jesus, you will be transformed into more like Jesus.
When we behold Jesus, we are fixing our gaze on Christ as if He were image we see in the mirror. Can you imagine how a selfie would change if we were taking pictures in order to behold the Christ who is hidden within each of us? What I’m trying to say is we shouldn’t be focused on ourselves nearly as much as we should be focused on Jesus. We must be consumed with the “Christ in us”, in order to “be transformed.” We must truly abide in Him, and He in us. We must be His Temple, where His presence resides at all times. We must have a secret place- a place where you and He spend time together, and it must be a place that is always before you in order to be transformed in to who God always wanted you to be. I’m not talking about a physical place when I say secret place. Scripture tells us that it is actually the place where we rest in His shadow, waiting upon the Lord as He renews our strength.
The more you look on Jesus, fixed on Him, receiving/absorbing/taking Him in, the more you will be changed in His image. As someone once said, “The Holy Spirit operates from where He occupies.” Paul was occupied with God- consumed with Jesus. This was the key to his transformation, it is the key to my transformation, and it is the key to your transformation. If you desire to grow in godly character, for example, fix your gaze on Jesus, and absorb/take in what you see. As you do that, Holy Spirit will transform you into the same image of glory- the image of your creator- Jesus. Be blessed
So often in life, we try to connect our present circumstances, problems, difficulties, and situations with God, as if He isn’t doing anything. In doing so, we feel hurt, neglected, frustrated, and even angry at God. This week’s blog is intended to be a part 3 of being bothered by things. Today, I hope to encourage you enough to transform perspectives.
In Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses tells Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
In Matthew 28:20, Jesus tells His disciples, “…surely I am with you always…”
God’s presence is everything, whether we know Him or not, whether we are talking about us or Him. So let’s look at His perspective today. For Him, we are always to connect our life’s situations, circumstances, problems, and difficulties to His true nature because then you will see that scriptures like these two are absolutely true. We need to understand who God wants to be for us, to understand what God is really like- how unchanging He really is- because that is what we lean on in those difficult times. In difficult times, every person pulls strength from what they believe in. We better know who we believe in so that we pull strength from the true source, and not from a misconception. I hope to clear this up today.
First, how do you call on the Lord? Scripture tells us there is only one way to call on God: Thanksgiving and Praise- with Joy. It’s the joyful heart of thanksgiving and praise that receives the peace of God, not the irritated, troubled, annoyed, angry, or sad heart. Why? Because these other hearts are being controlled by emotions. Emotions exist in your soul, and God is worshipped in spirit- John 4:24. Don’t get caught up in how you feel, allowing your emotions to get between you and God. You don’t need to get yourself right before you talk to God. Simply say, “It doesn’t matter how I feel, I will give thanks to God, and I will rejoice. Father, even though I feel sad (or mad, frustrated, etc.) I know you are good. I know you are my God. Thank you for giving me the ability to praise you despite how I feel. Thank you for always loving me, even when I do bad things. Thank you for your grace. You never leave me, you are always with me, I rejoice in your presence because you are here with me, even right now in my mess…” This is a great place to start a conversation. This is an act of alignment- where we get aligned with God- which is an act of righteousness.
I briefly mentioned in the last paragraph of last week’s blog that we need to learn to see things from God’s point of view. So often we try to get God to see our point of view, we try to justify ourselves with thoughts like, “If I can only explain to you what really happened then you will be sympathetic to it.” But Colossians 3:2 says we are to set our minds on things above (where God is***), not on earthly things. We can’t justify our actions, but we can learn His perspective, change the way we think and see things, and in the process get free from our circumstances and feelings. I once heard someone say, “Jesus died to set me free from me. If I am free from me, then I am certainly free from you.” No matter what happens in our life, we have the choice to live free and independent of it or to be a slave to what happens.
God sees beyond your present circumstances, into your future. He turns all things for good. He is for you, He is with you. He doesn’t see you in the middle of misery and pain, He sees you on the other side of it, free. We are walking, daily, with the almighty God who loves us.
Last week we talked about a phrase that really helps us to deal with the things that bother us. This week, I want to take another step in the same direction, addressing part of Holy Spirit’s role in each of our lives: Conscience. Your conscience is actually Holy Spirit speaking to you. So, with that said, how are we supposed to react to when Holy Spirit speaks to you about something you have done/or are doing? We all do acts of sin, we give in to temptation, and we struggle with bad habits. When Holy Spirit uses my conscience to convict me to stop, it bothers me. “But you said last week that what bothers me isn’t from me.”
You are right, I did. What I want to do for you today is help you see that when your conscience is convicting you of something, the real thing that is bothering you isn’t the conviction. It’s the temptation, the act of sin, and the habit that is really bothering you, not the voice of God convicting you. So even when you feel troubled for what you have done, it still isn’t God that is causing you grief… it’s the action or temptation coming from outside.
The God of the Universe lives inside of you. Abba has made His home inside. He loves you. He is for you and He is with you. You are one with Him. The fact that this is true is proof that what bothers you is not from you. God has made you holy, righteous, royalty, and free from accusation. He uses love and kindness to build you up into who He made you to be, not guilt and regret.
Romans 8:1 says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,”
God does not condemn you, and He isn’t going to use condemnation to transform you. He uses love. His love does convict, but the purpose is to show you that the thing that bothers you doesn’t belong to you, and it should not be near you. So whether you are dealing with what someone else says or does to you, or if something happens to you, or if what you do really bothers you, none of these things are from you nor are they for you. Don’t let something that comes from outside the Kingdom of God affect you more than truth.
Truth sets us free. The truth is that you are wonderful. You are beautiful. You are dearly loved and chosen by God for a purpose. Instead of being consumed with what is going wrong around you, God wants you to know that who He made you to be is greater than those things. Don’t get wrapped up in trying to be better, or wishing you weren’t who you are. If you can learn to see things from God’s point of view, you will see everything differently. Your conscience is simply God telling you that you weren’t made for whatever you’re dealing with in a moment. Don’t let that discourage you. When I learned I was free from my issues, circumstances, and situations I found so much freedom. I have lived without any condemnation for over 6 years, and even better I have seen a huge shift in the amount of convictions because my life has had such a huge transformation. People still do a lot of dumb stuff that used to really upset me, bad things still happen to me, but now I am free from all of it because I know none of those things have anything to do with God. If I keep my eyes on Him, if I stay focused on the truth then I am free… to live for Him.
When bad things happen to us, it is really hard to handle, isn’t it? Why do bad things happen to us? Is God trying to teach us something? I have so many questions that come into my mind when thinking about this stuff, and these are just a few of them.
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus tells us that the storm comes to the foolish and the wise- those who listen to Him and those who do not. The “storm” is all those bad things that happen to us: circumstances, people saying things, doing things, sicknesses, injuries, death, etc. They come for everyone, regardless of whether the person is “good or bad.” But to my point, how we handle our circumstances is extremely important. I’m not trying to tell you to pretend that everything is perfect and fake that you’re happy. That is a terrible way to live. What I hope to do for you today is help you stop pretending and stop faking how you really feel to please people by helping you to have a right perspective.
I heard someone say today, “If it bothers you, it’s not from you.” Wow. That is some truth right there. Instantly, I found myself reflecting on some previous events that I had been bothered by and how it was really hard to get passed what people had said or done to me. I remembered struggling with thoughts for hours one particular day as I could not shake free. I felt condemned that I knew I was wrong to be offended, that I should be better than to let this affect me so much, but I could not get my mind right. Oh how I wish I had heard this simple truth that day… It was hard because the longer I stayed upset, the more it upset me that I couldn’t let it go.
So what does this saying mean? If something happens to you, whether someone says or does something to you, or if something bad just happens, it’s normal for you to be bothered. Being bothered by something is not wrong or bad, but staying bothered is. What we need to realize is that the things that bother us are not coming from inside us, but are coming from outside. When we are bothered, it is because we don’t like what is happening to us, and therefore are allowing something on the outside to affect our inside- soul. This is wrong because we are letting something matter more than the Cross. When Jesus died on the Cross, He justified us, He set us free, and He made us new. And when we have faith in Him, He calls us Holy, Righteous, blameless, above reproach, and loved.
God builds us up into who He created us to be, while the enemy tears us down through lies and deception to get us to believe we are less than what God says we are. I think most of us have learned this, like had a few weeks ago, but applying it was truly difficult and I struggled to get my mind right. Here is where this saying would have helped me, because what it means is that things bother us because they are negative. Allowing them to linger can cause us to feel even worse, as I did when I could get free. But what I wasn’t realizing at the time was the thing that bothered me was not from me or God. God will never initiate negative things to motivate you. He will use and work all things for good, but there is a huge difference between initiating the whole thing and turning things around.
What I am hoping you get from this blog today is, “If something is bothering you, it is not from God, nor is it from you. It’s from the enemy- satan.” I want to encourage you to simply slow down when circumstances are overwhelming and realize that God loves you. You don’t need to battle the lies. You simply need to realize that the lies aren’t from God or you, and that they are irrelevant. The enemy has nothing to offer, but to lie and deceive. The truth is we don’t even need to fight it, trying to get free. We just need to recognize it is not of the Kingdom of God and doesn’t matter.